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XL Center Renovation May Go Into The Hands Of Private Investors

Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public Radio
Months after major public funding for a renovation to the 43 year-old building wasn't met, request for proposals went out Monday for private sector assistance.

The Capital Region Development Authority has opened the bidding process for the sale of Hartford’s XL Center.

The home to University of Connecticut men’s basketball and ice hockey teams, Hartford Wolf Pack hockey, concerts, and other events would remain open for similar public use, but CRDA is looking for a private investor to keep the arena going.

Michael Freimuth, the CRDA’s executive director, said the 43-year-old building has received “patchwork” repairs in the past, but now, it’s time for a total upgrade.

“The building itself is fatigued and it’s at a point where you really need to make major capital investments in it,” Freimuth said.

Freimuth cited two other factors as reasons the request for proposal was sent out—more competition for events as MGM Springfield opens, and the lack of major public funding it would take to get the job done.

Last year, Governor Dannel Malloy called for a $250 million renovation, but the state legislature decided against that figure.

The request for proposals calls for a specific number of suites as well as seating capacities in each section of the arena. Freimuth said there may be some wiggle room in that and the sale price if needs are met.

“We put together what we thought was an optimal list--one that would pay back relative to its capital cost but you can moderate that,” Freimuth said.

The deadline for a response to the RFP is June 29. Freimuth hopes the CRDA can make a recommendation to both the city and state on who should get the bid in the fall.

Frankie Graziano is the host of 'The Wheelhouse,' focusing on how local and national politics impact the people of Connecticut.

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